Greece announced on Monday it is mobilizing private doctors in an effort to contain the pressure on public hospitals struggling to cope with surging Covid-19 infections.
Minister of Health Vassilis Kikilias said that despite an appeal for volunteers in the last few weeks “very few doctors came forward.”
Of about 200 doctors requested by the government to assist their colleagues in the public sector, just 50 have come forward. Worse yet, attempts over the weekend to woo them with bonus fees failed.
“Taking into account the emergency conditions and the urgent need for treatment of our fellow human beings, the Ministry of Health is mobilizing the services of Pathologists, Pulmonologists and General Practitioners in Attica,” Kikilias announced.
Doctors associations say the government should first recruit residents at state hospitals and other medical staff waiting to be hired before proceeding with the order, which they describe as absolutely extreme.
On Sunday, Greece recorded another 1,514 new Covid-19 cases and the country broke yet another grim record, as a total of 674 people are now intubated in ICU units.
The situation in Greece’s hospitals remains critical, with the capacity of many of them in Athens and other large cities being almost overwhelmed.
Kikilias confirmed last week that Greece is “at the toughest point of the pandemic’s development.”
He added that public hospitals are “on high emergency mode.”
Greece to offer Covid-19 self-testing kits to all
Greece will start offering Covid-19 self-testing kits next month to the entire population of the country, the government said on Saturday.
This comes as the latest addition to a series of measures that aim to curve the rising coronavirus infections in the country.
Information and details on the new self-tests were announced by the Greek authorities, who claim that Greece will be the first EU member-state to offer these tests to the entire population free of charge.